Adidas to pull out by year-end if IAAF fails to act on doping

IAAF president Sebastian Coe, seen here at a news conference in January, has been accused by German researchers of giving "untrue" and "misleading" evidence to a British parliamentary investigation into blood doping in sport.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe, seen here at a news conference in January, has been accused by German researchers of giving "untrue" and "misleading" evidence to a British parliamentary investigation into blood doping in sport.PHOTO: REUTERS

MONTE CARLO • Sports goods manufacturer adidas has given the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) until the end of this year to demonstrate that athletics' world governing body is dealing with the doping crisis, or it will carry out its threat to terminate its multi-million dollar contract.

This was revealed by IAAF chief Sebastian Coe at the start of the two-day meeting of its council yesterday.

The German company had reportedly decided to end its 11-year, US$33 million (S$45.4 million) contract with the IAAF following publication of the second World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission report in January.

The report claimed "corruption was embedded" within the IAAF, which led adidas to write to the IAAF that it would end its contract.

It has now emerged that Dentsu, the IAAF's Japan-based commercial partner, persuaded adidas to give the IAAF another chance, reported insidethegames.biz.

"Dentsu have been able to deal with this, adidas will stay with us until the end of the year," Coe said.

The Briton also told the IAAF council that he is optimistic of persuading Nestle to reverse its decision to end its sponsorship of the Kids Athletics programme.

The Swiss company, a partner of the IAAF initiative since 2012, had decided last month to end its five-year €2 million (S$3.1 million) agreement 12 months early.

"I am dealing personally with this matter," Coe said. "These are long-term discussions."

Meanwhile, the 1,500m legend has been accused of giving "untrue" and "misleading" evidence to a British parliamentary investigation into blood doping in sport.

Researchers at the University of Tuebingen in Germany claimed that the IAAF has blocked publication of a study that suggested 29 to 45 per cent of track and field athletes may have been doping.

Coe and Thomas Capdevielle, the IAAF's anti-doping manager, gave evidence to the culture, media and sport committee last December saying that the study had been rejected by several scientific journals.

Rolf Ulrich, the lead author, and Georg Sandberger, the university's chancellor, have written a letter to Member of Parliament Jesse Norman, the committee chairman, stating: "We were surprised to hear several misleading and incorrect claims about our research made by Lord Coe and also by Thomas Capdevielle during this meeting. Their statements are contradictory and - from our point of view - in parts also untrue.

"Further withholding the results of this study (by the IAAF) is also an enormous damage to the efforts of combating doping and against scientific freedom."

The IAAF responded by saying that it had no objection to the study being published but could not endorse it until it has seen the actual data.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline 'Adidas to pull out by year-end if IAAF fails to act on doping'. Print Edition | Subscribe